A Roadtrip to Roadtrip

My aunt came home one afternoon from a get-together with friends. She told us they went to a new cafe along the diversion road in the city. She said that the food was good. It was not accessible by public transportation so when my cousins invited me to go with them, I dropped everything. I cannot pass up the opportunity.

The cafe is named Roadtrip. It is a both a carwash and a cafe. So while you wait for your car to be washed, you can dine in their cafe.  The cafe was cozy and breezy with all the open windows.

12507372_10156491758595253_4665556276948241093_n

I love the stairs.  They are made of old tires that are filled with concrete.

12472239_10156491756605253_5327336555342339017_n (1)

The cafe is pet-friendly. We brought my cousins’ mini-pinscher  and she felt at home.

11215084_10156491755110253_6486903692365518529_n

There is also a backyard with ducks. ( I was only able to capture one duck in the photo.)

12417711_10156491758065253_1702017300610715658_n

This is what we ordered- longsilog (longganisa, fried rice and egg) and bacon cheeseburger.

12472239_10156491756605253_5327336555342339017_n (2)

This is the bacon cheeseburger upclose. It was delicious.  (Disclosure: I went back with friends. Twice.)

12507292_10156491758250253_8408921884989629227_n

Since we went to the Roadtrip Cafe early in the afternoon, we went to a roadtrip (literally!). This time… to the beach!

025

I sometimes forget that we live near the beach.  One can just rent a cottage here for P50 (~$1).

019

My cousins’ dog went for a swim.

12509411_10156491759880253_7600454982580406669_n

On the way the beach, we crossed the Masao bridge. The bridge crosses the Masao river.

024

There are people who make a living from the river.

026

We also went to the nearby barangay, Lumbocan, out of curiousity. We found this beautiful fishpond.

034

 Oh, we passed by the area where pots of bougainvillea were sold. I love bougainvillea.

12552866_10156491760385253_4111714329762534402_n

We called it a day since our youngest roadtripper was already tired.

12540958_10156491760320253_3689952462247594611_n

Have you explored your hometown lately?

LPA and Agaton Blues

I have experienced flooding before- in 1979, 1999, 2011. It happens to us with a more than a decade interval. I did not expect it to come too soon.  The non-stop raining for the past two weeks was something to be concerned about.

My cousin and I were chatting about how my aunt reacted to the flooding in their street.  She described it as ‘thrilling’ because it has been stationary near their gate for days.

This  was our version of thrilling by Sunday afternoon, January 19.
IMG_0562

We even managed to build a makeshift fort for our dog to prevent him from jumping into the water.
IMG_0563

By late afternoon on Sunday, the water level already rose.
IMG_0566

My friend who lives near the river already evacuated their families.

In the evening, I got a text from my boss about a tweet from Prof. Mahar Lagmay, executive director of Project NOAH. I verified it. True enough I got the same information. Prof Lagmay is an expert I asked about flood maps before and I trust his assessment.
tweet

This made us decide to prepare for flooding. From previous experience, we know the flood-prone areas in the house so we quickly vacated the area.

Remember my living room last Christmas?
1451520_10153574817275253_291361272_n

We emptied it. Almost.
IMG_0569
We transferred the furniture to my Aunt’s house.
IMG_0571

Their living room turned into a bodega. We reinforced the furniture legs with plastic cups.

IMG_0572
That afternoon, my aunt already secured her plants on the waiting shed bench.

IMG_0592

We slept tight when the 11:30 PM warning of Prof Lagmay had passed.
1509216_10153741741270253_1666676967_n

When we woke up, we are still dry. However, heavy rains kept pounding. The Tropical Depression Agaton showed its strength after being categorized as a low pressure area (LPA) for more than a week. The water level of the mighty Agusan River rose.

Then, my living room had two inches of flood. Yes, we still have power and my aunt was able to watch her favorite teleserye.
IMG_0577

My aunt’s porch was flooded. We were grateful that the living room was dry.
IMG_0580

My rooms were still safe and dry.
IMG_0598

The dogs were safe and dry.
IMG_0606

By Tuesday morning, rain was reduced to drizzles and the water in my home was slowly receding. It was cleanup time for us. My aunt started scooping out flood waters to the pail and I carried those pails 50 steps away to my bathroom. It was a good workout.
IMG_0600

We did the same thing with my living room that by Tuesday afternoon, my floors were squeaky clean. I purposely sat on the floor to show you how clean it is. Pardon the fashion faux pas.
IMG_0611

We had time to roam around the neighborhood and the streets were still flooded.

IMG_0623

IMG_0631

IMG_0635

There are still thousands of families in the evacuation centers. I know someone who lost their home. I know someone whose brother had to be rescued.

My beloved city is under the state of calamity. I am fine. My family is fine. But there are still thousands who are homeless. The water level has not yet subsided.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Butuan City and the Mighty Agusan River

‘Biyahe ni Drew’  on GMA NewsTV featured my beloved Butuan City last Friday.  In one of the segments, he rode a boat along  the Agusan River. That is when I realized I forgot to write about my Abayan experience end of July.  Yes, I am that late in writing about it. Abayan Festival is a fluvial parade in honor of St. Anne, Mama Mary’s mother.  I have experienced boat rides along the river hundreds of times before.  However, I have not tried to ride the boat upstream.  This was the first time.

Here is an aerial view of the river which I took  in one of the plane rides home. Agusan River is the 3rd longest river in the country.

aerial view

We got to the PPA compound early after the Sunday mass. It was a last-minute decision to go there so I was not able to bring my camera. What I had was my Nokia 6230i phone which broke down after it was low on battery for taking all these pictures.

Anyway, free tickets were distributed for those who wanted to ride the boat. It is actually a fluvial procession with the pumpboat carrying St Anne heading the ‘expedition’
APhoto001

This is what the pump boat looks like.
APhoto004

I wanted to see what Agusan upstream looks like. There were a lot of greens but there were also some communities living by the river.The upstream ride approaches the second bridge.

APhoto005 (16)

One can only take this shot at this angle if one is on a boat so I took advantage of it even with my phone camera.
APhoto005 (31)

 If you want a glimpse of my city, watch this episode of Biyahe ni Drew. (Video by santoleater on YouTube)

New Business in Town

Going home from the cemetery last November 1, we took a different route. I wanted to do landscape photography. (Yes, frustrated photographer here!)

I got what I wanted. The alternate route had pretty rolling hills.

And there were ducks gathering around a lake. This is what I love about provincial life.

Along this road, we also discovered a new resort.

Construction is still ongoing but there is already a functional swimming pool.

The resort already accepts guests who want to use the pool. We grabbed the opportunity and returned in the afternoon. Since only a few knew the place exists, we look like we own the place. 😀

The place also has a function room for those who want to hold their parties and meetings here.

We swam till dusk.  I love that the resort is surrounded by mountains. No obstructive view of those dangling electric wires.

 The place is pretty at night.

The resort is not yet fully opened and they do not even have a signboard. The resort is a water park for kids complete with slides and other water activities. I found this taped to a column in the entrance. So, if you happen to be in Butuan City, you now know who to call. 😉

A new business like this needs an online presence. Everyone uses the Internet to search for places to eat, things to buy and resorts to enjoy.  Having a website, a Facebook page or a twitter account  is just a start.

Staycation: Banza Church Ruins

I read the first entry in my journal for this year and I wrote:

I also know that working hard and working smart are two different things.

I want to work smart and live well. Living well entails making the most of what is given to me. So instead of a vacation over the Holy Week, my cousin and I explored our own city.  I live in Butuan so I might as well explore what Butuan has to offer.

If you happen to get a tourism pamphlet when you arrive in the Butuan airport, one of the tourist spots listed there is the Banza Church Ruins.  My grandmother is from that area yet I can only count in one hand the number of times I have been to that part of the city.

I already saw this area when we went on a boat ride to Magallanes.

I got curious. My aunts were not interested. They have been living in this city for too long. This mini-adventure does not seem to excite them anymore so I found a kindred spirit in my younger cousin.  On Holy Wednesday, we went on a little adventure. We walked to the terminal for tricycles going to Banza. We were lucky that the Banza residents who were in the same tricycle with us were helpful. I already started to lose trust in the driver for he wanted to take advantage of our clueless state. One passenger, a young woman, was helpful enough to tell her neighbor who was also in the same tricycle with us to give us directions. He lives near the site.

It only takes a 10-minute leisurely walk from the main road to reach this place.

It is not a world-class tourist destination of sorts. It is just an open area with a marker and a reconstruction of a ruined church. The actual ruin is wrapped inside that Balete tree.

Goats grazed the open field.

It may not be a grand tourist spot but I love the place.  It is peaceful and calming. Agusan River, the third longest river in the Philippines according to Wikipedia and the longest river in Mindanao according to Encyclopedia Britannica, showed its gentle side.

The afternoon sun basks in its glory.

Indeed, the best things in life are free.

———————————–

This is Day 17 of the 30-day blogging challenge.